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Census deadline moved up by a month, which could affect funding to Central Coast communities

Posted at 9:47 AM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 12:47:50-04

The U.S. Census count is underway but new concerns are arising over an early end to data collection.

The completion date was originally set for Oct. 31 but the Trump Administration moved the deadline to Sept. 30.

In an effort to get more people to complete the Census, Thursday marked the start of an initiative called "Get out the count."

Thousands of door knockers, known as enumerators, are venturing out across the country to locate people who did not complete the census and collect their information.

That effort is now under a tighter time constraint due to the change in the data collection deadline, which opponents believe risks inaccurate data, especially during a time when COVID-19 fears are hindering the process.

"It means it's going to be that much more challenging to get to people," Americans Advancing Justice L.A. CEO Connie Chung Joe said. "Obviously, when you're knocking on doors one by one, that's a time-consuming process. That's really, we're targeting the hard to count population, so people who are limited English proficient, the homeless population, groups who are immigrants, certain folks are harder to reach than others."

Chung Joe said California is especially challenging when it comes to data collection in part because of the large immigrant population who may fear deportation or challenges to their status.

Chung Joe said every person matters in the count, which is used to determine government funding and voting districts in each community.

Every person in California, Chung Joe added, accounts for about $1,000 per year, meaning a family of five that does not complete the census may cost the state $50,000 in potential funds over the next decade.

Completing the census is required by law and can be done online or by mail.

At last check, response rates in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties were higher than the state and national average.